Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Delaware State Housing Authority releases 2023 Housing Needs Assessment

Older housing units across from the Imani Village
Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media
Home value increases in all Delaware counties have outpaced growth in median income, with Sussex County reporting the largest disparity.

Outside consulting firm Root Policy Research releases data on housing costs, affordability and projected housing needs for Delaware based on this past year.

The report found that between 2010 and 2020 there were fewer housing units built than needed to keep up with household growth, resulting in a shortfall.

Root Policy ResearchManaging Director Heidi Aggeler also notes that over 50,000 renters in Delaware are cost burdened, meaning they are paying more than 30% of their income in rent.

You need to be building about 1,000 units a year, and that’s for people earning 80% AMI, and of those about 570 should be ownership units and 430 should be rentership units," Aggeler said.

AMI refers to the area median income, and Delaware residents who are earning 80% AMI qualify as low income.

Aggeler says because Delaware has a high rate of units being used for seasonal or recreational purposes, the state must over-accommodate with affordable housing to ensure enough units are available for workers or residents.

The report adds that securing additional federal and state funding will be essential to addressing current housing shortages and meeting projected needs.

In addition to the need for more housing overall in Delaware, the report found that special consideration needs to be taken in improving housing conditions for non-white communities.

Root Policy Research conducted a statewide survey that found significant home ownership gaps by race — 81% of White households are homeowners compared to 52% of Hispanic households and 51% of Black households.

Additionally, renters were found to be 5 times more likely than owners to report living in housing that is in poor or fair condition.

“Those numbers were pretty high in Delaware, 33% for Hispanic households and 25% for Black households — these are renters who are worried that their rent will increase if they submit a maintenance request," Aggeler said.

She adds that government-backed mortgages are important for many non-white households to attain homeownership in Delaware, with 58% of Black households and 41% of Hispanic households utilizing those loans.

To address these race and ethnicity gaps, the report recommends Delaware focus on targeted down payment assistance and affordable homeownership products to facilitate ownership among renters.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.
Related Content
  • Despite the pandemic, the housing market in Delaware was red-hot in 2020 and 2021.Since then, things have cooled, creating a very different environment for those interested in buying or selling.Contributor Eileen Dallabrida reports on the state of the housing market in Delaware this week and what’s driving it.